Colnbrook Primary set to benefit from noise-proof bunker

Colnbrook Primary is set to follow Pippins School in Poyle and install a sound-proof igloo for outdoor lessons in peace, courtesy of Heathrow Airport.


Colnbrook Primary has applied to Slough Borough Council for planning permission to erect a noise-proof igloo for outdoor lessons free from the disturbance of passing aircraft.

The partially-buried ‘Adobe’ buildings are made from long tubes of soil and can accommodate up to 30 pupils in a special bunker for outdoor lessons or play.  The larger models, which Colnbrook Primary will receive, also include an amphitheatre.

‘Adobe’ buildings were invented in 1984 in response to a NASA call for designs for human settlements on the Moon and Mars. Built by British company Small Earth, based in Shropshire, they use a construction system involving long tubes of woven polypropylene filled with soil, laid into shape and then compacted. Barbed wire is used between the layers, acting a bit like Velcro, sticking the tubes together and providing reinforcement.

Funding for the project has come from a Heathrow’s Community Buildings Noise Insulation Scheme.  The scheme announced funding in 2013 for up to 21 schools in the area to receive a grant of up to £85,000 excluding VAT to purchase and install an igloo in school grounds.

Pippins School received its noise bunker in June 2014, with the mayor attending the opening ceremony.  Small Earth says it has constructed over 80 igloos to date across the UK and abroad.

The school plans to site the igloo in the south western corner of the playing field behind the main school building.


The igloos are able to achieve a 16dB to 20dB reduction in any one “noise event” can maintain around 50 dB LAeq 30 min even with aircraft flying just 600 feet overhead.

The prefabricated buildings are also said to be resistant to fire, earthquake, and – appropriately – flood.

Colnbrook Primary’s application was registered two weeks ago.

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